Zaragoza is the only city in the Iberian Peninsula to have enjoyed the privilege of being called by the entire name of its Roman founder Caesar Augustus. The city was established in the first century A.D. over the ruins of the old Iberian town of Salduie.
From the very beginning, Caesaraugusta was a regional capital city. Its excellent strategic position, situated as it is on the banks of the mighty river Ebro, gave it a range and depth that were ideal for its position as an administrative centre.
At the end of the 5th century, in common with the rest of the Roman Empire, Zaragoza found itself in a process of change, a period that ended with the occupation of the city by Visigoth troops under the leadership of one Count Gauterico in the year 472 .D.
Traces of the Visigoth stewardship of Zaragoza are abundant and well preserved.
In 741 A.D. Zaragoza was captured by the Moors; a ruling class and system that remained in place until the 12th century. This stark cultural change marked the beginning of a period of enlightenment that resulted in some of the most spectacular Mudéjar buildings in the Iberian Peninsula.
The wheel of history continued to revolve and the scar of war scarcely had time to heal on the face of the city before the crash of the next wave of aggression. Firstly by the rampaging armies of Alfonso I, the Warrior, in 1118, when Zaragoza was converted into the capital of the Kingdom of Aragón, and then by the destructive sieges suffered during the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century. During the Spanish Civil War ferocious fighting damaged many ancient buildings.
But not all the architectural treasures of Zaragoza were lost to the vagaries of history. The Aljafería, a Moorish palace with exquisitely delicate tracery and fascinating Mudéjar arches, has recently been restored to its original splendour. Here, not only classic Mudéjar architecture can be seen, but also the throne room of Ferdinand and Isobella where, victorious after the fall of Granada in 1492, their absolute power is reflected in breathtaking stone tracery and a magnificent ceiling.
Of course, Zaragoza would not exist without the presence of the river Ebro, the most powerful river in the Iberian Peninsula and currently the focus of a national debate on water resources. Its vast catchment area covers some 85,000 square kilometers and it forms an indivisible link with the city that sits splendid on its banks.
Get the facts on Zaragoza: http://www.zaragozacity.com/
Routes and Places worth a Visit
Cathedral of the Seo. This gothic cathedral, located in the principal square of the city, is richly decorated in plateresque and barroque styles. It was built in the XIV century and have many features well worth seeing.
The Roman forum located below the Pilar Square in the centre of the city is a spectacular museum located directly within another time. This area was once the forum of the city and many of the main features of this pivotal political place have been excavated to provide a dramatic reminder of roman heritage.
The Basilica of Pilar is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. Its barroque façade houses some of the most exquisite works of art by such genius as was represented by Goya and Bayeu. This is the centre of celebrations for the day of the Virgin del Pilar, one of the most important festivals in Spain.
12th October, celebrations in honour of the Virgen del Pilar, one of the most famous festivals in Spain and a national holiday. Because of its imporane the festival has been designated as being of national tourist interest.
29th January is the festival of Saint Valero, the 5th of March is the festival known as the Cincomarzada, and the s23rd of March is the day of Saint George.